If you thought Ella, Nelson and the Gershwins were unbeatable, think again!
Here the accent is on one composer with several different lyricists - Mercer, Hammerstein, Harbach and Fields. I've never been a great fan of Hammerstein (much preferred Rodgers with Hart rather than the legendary "O"), however the lyrics Oscar provided for the songs chosen for this recording were certainly not "as corny as Kansas in August". Ella's version of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" is pure and simple. She wisely avoided the usual reading of "when he goes away-AY, that's a rainy day-AH" and sings it in her own understated, but elegant, manner.
I've read some many articles about Ella's lack of emotion and feeling, it almost sickens me. I think that many people confuse emotion and feeling with hysterical histrionics. Not so! She gets just the right old fashioned feeling in "I'm Old Fashioned". "Remind Me" is just the right vehicle to showcase Ella's ability to hold her tongue firmly in cheek and kiss the guy off and beckon him back.
Listen to Ella's humorous treatments of "I'll Be Hard to Handle", "Let's Begin" and, most notably, "She Didn't Say Yes". The humor is not "Ha, Ha, Ha! " It's all so subtle, it's pure magic. She was not only a composer's dream, she was a lyricist's dream as well!
Nelson Riddle continued to provide the "best of the best" arrangements. He certainly knew when to stay in the background and when to come out swinging. This is just one totally enjoyable recording.